Planning for media Literacy Week 2016 – 10/31 – 11/4


Now is a good time to consider what we all could do in recognition of Media Literacy Week :

2nd Annual US Media Literacy Week will be held October 31 thru November 4th, 2016
Spread the word: #MediaLitWk

Here are two questions as starting points for considering how our lives and meanings are all shaped by media experiences:

  1. What would you suggest was the most significant change in media for you over the past year?
  2. How is the current state of media impacting our roles as citizens in some kind of a public democracy?

I usually suggest to students that they consider at least three possibilities before settling on a choice, so here are three that I might offer as candidates:

Media Change 1:
The push of social media into, through, and around legacy media.

Media Change 2:
How our communication world deals with the notion of “facts,” and what happens when we either cannot agree on them or find ourselves in a place where they are less important than other factors (like, say, feelings…).

Media Change 3:
People are certainly more aware of media’s influences, but are they thinking about such issues in a way that values the power we all need as individuals for self determination?

For the first, consider the ways social media plays a role in a new piece of public information, like the shooting of an unarmed black man or a cop. Mobile phones with cameras or body cams becomes ways to witness. How can we better understand their biases?

For the second, the question comes up in the election about the relationship between measured reality and experience. If crime is down why don’t some people feel safer? If jobs are up, why do some people still act on the opposite?

For the third, we ought to consider the rights and abilities people have to come to a better understanding of media in their own consumption and production. Can we work together toward a culture that negotiates wisely between public and private?

And how can we think about media in a way that values just treatment for every individual? Our mutual better nature can stand to benefit greatly from encouraging a public commitment to media literacy, which could be the greatest outcome of this annual celebration.

And thank you, Canada for starting the idea.

So what are your three changes?



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Ralph Beliveau Media Arts Area Head Associate Professor, Creative Media Production @ralphbeliveau Dr. Beliveau is on faculty for the Gaylord College and affiliate faculty in both Film and Media Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. He co-authored Digital Literacy: A Primer on Media, Identity, and the Evolution of Technology (2016) and co-edited the forthcoming collection International Horror Film Directors: Global Fear (December 2016). He writes and teaches about media education and literacy, race, horror media, documentary, rhetorical criticism, video production, film, popular culture, music & cultural studies, and documentary theory production & history. He has written about network society, documentary rhetoric, horror media, The Wire, African American biographical documentaries, Alex Cox, Supernatural, Richard Matheson, Night Gallery, Italian film, and Paolo Freire and media literacy. He previously taught Radio/TV/Film at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and broadcast journalism, popular culture, and rhetoric while doing graduate work at the University of Iowa. Beliveau ran an FM radio station and cable television studio in Chicago and worked in Los Angeles in independent film and television production. He served as editor of the Journal of Communication Inquiry, chair of the Cultural and Critical Studies division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and chair of the Student Documentary Competition for the Broadcast Education Association. Beliveau is part of the team of faculty who leads the British Media Tour annually and also taught Italian Popular Film and Literature in the Journey to Italy program in Arezzo. Beliveau earned his B.S. from Northwestern University and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. More can be found at

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